PHNOM PENH —
Prime Minister Hun Sen has set July 29 as the date for the highly anticipated general election in 2018, almost exactly five years after a contentious poll that led to mass protests.
The vote will be a major test of the premier’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party, which made significant losses in local elections in June.
Cambodia last went to the polls in 2013 amid evidence of widespread voter fraud, intimidation, and political violence.
The opposition’s gains in the commune elections came despite efforts to marginalize the Cambodia National Rescue Party through a series of court cases.
More than 25 political prisoners have been jailed since the 2013 election, the aftermath of which was marked by mass protests and killings by state security forces.
Last month, the government finalized amendments to a law to ban political parties from associating with convicts, which CPP critics say was aimed at stopping the opposition from working with its former president, Sam Rainsy, who was convicted of defamation several years ago.
Hang Puthea, National Election Committee spokesman, said there would be enough time prior to the election to update the voter list.